High Court slams N100 million fine against IGP over unlawful arrest, killing
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) has bagged a N100 million fine from the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja for the arrest and killing of Ja’afar Muhammad, a member of Free Zakzaky protesters in Abuja.
In a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CD/409/2020, Justice Zainab Abubakar, in a judgement held that the arrest of late Muhammad by police officers at Gwagwalada Teaching Hospital on July 22, 2019, and his killing on July 24, 2019, at SARS Abattoir, Abuja, amounted to a gross violation of his fundamental rights as enshrined in Section 33 (1) 35 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
Justice Abubakar also described the action of the police as illegal, unlawful, null, and void.
It would be recalled that Mr Naziru Isah Abdullahi, a brother to the deceased, through his counsel, Bala Dakum, had sued the IGP and the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of Asokoro District Hospital as 1st and 2nd respondents, respectively, before the court.
In the originating motion on notice filed on March 19, 2020, Abdullahi averred that Muhammad was shot by operatives of the police while on a peaceful protest to demand the release of the leader of the Islamic Movement, Sheik Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife Zeenah, at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, on July 22, 2019.
He was subsequently rushed to the Gwagwalada Teaching Hospital for medical attention, where he was arrested the same day and detained at SARS Abattoir, Abuja, without Medicare before he gave up the ghost on July 24, 2019.
In the judgment delivered on May 22 and a certified true copy of the document made available to newsmen on June 2, Abubakar held that Abdullahi had been able to establish that his brother, Muhammad, was shot by the police, and as a result, sustained injury while on a peaceful protest and died in custody.
The judge further held that it was established that, upon the demise of Ja’afar Muhammad, his corpse was deposited at the Asokoro District Hospital, Abuja.
“Based on the foregoing, I hold that the applicant has proved the infringement of his fundamental rights against the respondents as he alleged, and he is therefore entitled to the grant of the reliefs sought.
“Accordingly, reliefs (a), (b), (c), and (d) are granted to the applicant as prayed,” she declared.
Abubakar, who gave an order directing the IGP and the CMD to release Muhammad’s corpse to the applicant for immediate burial in accordance with Islamic rites, also directed the IGP to pay the sum of N100 million for unlawful detention and killing of Muhammad.
She equally ordered the IGP to tender a formal apology to the applicant (Abdullahi) by publishing the same in two national dailies.